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June 9, 2008


District Attorney Roger Garcetti attempted to revive his lagging campaign by turning the spotlight on a Gotham group charged with illegal vigilante activities.

"I challenge Harvey Dent to denounce and reject Citizens for Batman, an outlaw group which is a breeding ground for the worst type of vigilantism," said Garcetti at a City Hall press conference.

"This illegal group of malcontents and law-breakers must be disbanded," said DA Roger Garcetti. "Citizens for Batman is an outlaw group that is a threat to public safety."

Garcetti's attack on the organization led to a political furor. While many agreed with the District Attorney's criticism of the group, Citizens for Batman claimed that many Gotham citizens support its mission.

Harvey Dent refused to condemn the group, saying that "This intolerable crime wave is forcing many citizens to make terrible choices between doing nothing and doing too much."

It is unclear whether Garcetti's latest gambit will do anything to turn around his dismal poll numbers. But it does raise a question many Gotham observers have been asking.

Is Citizens for Batman a law-abiding group dedicated to supporting Batman and helping Gotham citizens protect themselves?

Or is it an organized gang of outlaws who've moved past support of Batman to aping the avenger's vigilante activities?

The grassroots group sprang up in recent months in response to City Hall's warnings that Batman faces arrest for public vigilantism. Hundreds of Gotham citizens have attended CFB meetings, and many more have attended CFB self-protection training.

The group, however, became known for more than just holding meetings and issuing statements. In the last few weeks, reports of members attempting to arrest people they considered criminals began to concern City Hall.

"We can't have every angry Gotham citizen begin to take the law into their own hands," said Gotham Police spokeswoman Myra Briarhedge. "Gotham City is a city of laws, and everyone must follow them."

In the aftermath of the Gotham Convenient Store melee - where a Citizens For Batman member attempted to arrest a citizen he believed was about to rob the store - official suspicion of the group turned into outright condemnation.

The arrest attempt resulted in the hospitalization of the citizen with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. No charges were filed against the citizen, whose identity has been kept secret. But the Citizens for Batman member who intervened - identified as Josiah Horsian, 19, of Granton - was arrested and charged with attempted manslaughter.

Citizens for Batman claims it is a completely mainstream organization. Brian Douglass, one of the founders of the group, told GCN that the group purged "hardcore elements" that may have been "guilty of caring too much about Gotham citizens."

"We have completely separated ourselves from people that may wrongfully take the law into their own hands," said Douglass. "Citizens for Batman wants only to support Batman and keep Gotham safe, nothing else."


The bitter campaign for District Attorney may have been shaped by the vicious mob war that took more than 100 lives since it started last Thanksgiving Day, polls show.

A recent GCN poll of 415 registered Gotham voters shows that violent crime was the number one issue for 68% of the electorate. And Harvey Dent is considered the candidate best able to tackle violent crime by 61% of voters.

"That's exactly what you want to see if you're Dent's campaign manager," said GCN pollster Clinton Rilley III. "Dent is leading on the issue most important to the voters."

In the race for District Attorney, that edge Dent holds on fighting crime may be the difference between victory and defeat. Even more importantly, observers say, Dent's message has been aided indirectly by the breathless media coverage of the mob war.

"Every time local news leads with the latest mob slaying, Dent picks up more voters," said Dent's media manager Allan Cypes. "It is like getting millions of dollars in campaign advertising given to you for free.

Polling over the past year showed a dramatic increase in Gotham citizens considering violent crime the number one issue facing Gotham since the start of the mob war. Fear of another terror attack, worry over outbreaks of Fear Toxin, and concern over the drug trade all dropped as the mob war focused Gotham attention on violent crime, Rilley said.

"You can't look at the polling and come to any other conclusion than that the mob war has helped Dent's campaign considerably," Rilley said.

The irony of the mob helping the politician some say they loathe the most - Harvey Dent - has not gone unnoticed.

"It's really the law of unintended consequences," said Rilley. "The mob may have given rise to their greatest enemy in Harvey Dent."

While the mob war seems to have ended for now, Harvey Dent may be the man who profited the most from the chaos the battles caused the city.

June 13, 2008


Gangsters, watch out. That's the message from the District Attorney's office.

With a decisive victory strengthening his hand, Harvey Dent is expected to move swiftly against police corruption and mobsters.

A source close to Dent told GCN, "He meant every word he said during the campaign. The man is marshalling a team of the city's best attorneys and investigators to really hammer at the mob and bad cops."

A high-level City Hall official told GCN, "Gotham is in for quite a show. It's going to be all-out war."

Dent has been meeting with police Commissioner Loeb in a series of top-secret meetings at police headquarters. The speculation is that the two are working out a strategy on a blitzkrieg-like assault on mob influence in Gotham.

The City Hall official told GCN that Dent is also planning to go after high-ranking city officials for malfeasance. Allan Cypes, Dent's media manager, told Gotham Tonight's Mike Engel that the defeated district attorney, Roger Garcetti, would be prosecuted for corruption.

"I vow to uphold my campaign promise to end mob violence in Gotham no matter whose toes I step on," Dent said at a City Hall press conference. Others, however, remain skeptical that Dent can achieve his stated goals.

Sergeant Daniel Selverian was prosecuted by Dent but acquitted by the judge hearing his case. "Dent's going to have a lot of trouble getting the police cooperation he needs. He doesn't have very many fans inside the department and he's going to need them to get the job done."

Some fear a wave of violent crime in a mob backlash against any legal assault. But Dent spokeswoman Jeanette Tother dismissed such concerns.

"People shouldn't worry," said Tother. "This is not the 1920's. There won't be Tommy Gun fire coming from moving cars. Harvey Dent's war on crime and corruption is going to make us all more safe."

June 16, 2008


We want your Batman pics. We just can't cover the entire city with GCN photographers, so we're asking for citizens to submit their photos. Click here for submission page.

Whenever news breaks, GCN is there. We've covered all the news you care about - from traffic tie-ups to police chases to scandal at City Hall.

One news target is proving elusive - Batman. Everyone is talking about him - the cops, the criminals, even the kids on the playground seem to know all about this mythical hero.

But the infamous crusader seems to be quite camera-shy. In fact, GCN news operatives have not yet snapped one usable shot of this controversial Gotham figure.

That's why we need to ask you, the citizens of Gotham for help. Keep a lookout for the familiar dark silhouette of Batman. Remember to carry a camera - digital, film, cell-phone, or video - on your person at all time.

As Gotham City has learned, you can never know when Batman will decide to emerge from wherever he lurks between interventions.

We'll post the best ones here on GCN. So get your flashlights out and start circling the block, because Batman is out there - you just have to find him.

June 20, 2008


GPD got some help from the famous INTERPOL this week.

Word has leaked out that the international police organization has arrested two fugitive "smear cops."

Their bogus charges against Harvey Dent almost derailed his campaign, but today, they're facing justice in Gotham prisons.

Billy Dambrosio and Jimmy Nickerson were nabbed in the Thailand beach town of Hua Hin. The arrests mark the continuing success of "Operation Slipknot" - an investigation coordinated by MCU chief Jim Gordon targeting officers suspected of ties to Gotham mob figures.

With the arrest of the two cops, 29 of the 30 wanted officers have been apprehended. Remaining fugitive Tony Elwell's whereabouts remain unknown.

"Operations Slipknot couldn't have been implemented without the help of everyday Gotham citizens, INTERPOL, and local police cooperation around the world. I couldn't be more pleased with the work that INTERPOL did in tracking down these two fugitives from justice."

Gotham citizens Ninette Jennifer Bachman and boyfriend Troy Jeremy Barbason were vacationing in the town when they spotted two men on the beach "who really looked out of place," said Ninette.

According to Troy, "They felt like cops to me, and this isn't the type of place you normally see cops. I remembered seeing a list of faces on the Slipknot website so I went back up to our room and punched it up on my laptop and there they were."

The young couple alerted local authorities who contacted INTERPOL to make the actual arrest. The suspects were apprehended at a popular nightclub.

Citizens information about the whereabouts of Tony Elwell are urged to contact the GPD immediately.



The photo above is just one of hundreds that have poured into GCN since the call for Batman pics. Citizens have responded to GCN's call with photos and videos of the masked avenger.

"This experiment in citizen-journalism may end up transforming news media," said Comcast Gotham's president Panos Georgopolas. "We can cover so many more stories of interest to Gotham citizens with the help of ordinary people."

Batman has proven difficult for even the most well-financed networks to cover. Slipping into crime scenes under cover of night, Batman is extremely difficult to catch in a usable photo, said GCN photography editor Ryan Duke McGillicutty.

"Before the call for photos, we had almost no shots of Batman to use," said McGillicutty. "But just in the last week, we've had more shots come in than in the last year using professional shooters."

June 27, 2008


GCN has learned that Jim Gordon's Major Crimes Unit (MCU) is making gains in unraveling a hidden network of money laundering fronts that are crucial to the workings of organized crime in Gotham.

Dry cleaning businesses, cash-only restaurants, neighborhood banks, and nightclubs are some of the businesses rumored to be on Gordon's hit list.

Collin Baisley, lead financial crimes investigator for the MCU, explained, "We take a good look at small to mid-sized business doing a lot of cash transactions whose receipts show more cash flow than their foot traffic would indicate."

Baisley says that not all the work is in-office. "I have one team dedicated to financial research, while a street team keeps tabs of the businesses' day-to-day activities to get a sense of their true capacity."

The department is not yet offering specifics on targeted businesses.

"It would be premature to offer the public any information on this investigation," Baisley added. "Money laundering is serious business and can be difficult to prosecute. We're taking a very cautious approach to this. You don't want to topple a house of cards until you know what's at the bottom."

Since money laundering is one of the most complicated of financial crimes, GCN asked financial crime consultant Tabitha Goodwright to explain.

"Typically in a complex money laundering situation, small businesses serve as fronts by reporting more income than they actually take in, usually in the form of cash transactions," Goodwright said.

"This income is then legally reported and funneled up to one, larger entity for a final scrubbing through the world's financial markets. It's all about taking money that was earned illegally and making it appear as legitimate revenue."

Ms. Goodwright suggested that the businesses that sit below the top entity are usually located in less-visible neighborhoods and poverty-stricken areas that don't get a lot of scrutiny. "They're shadow networks, really. The best ones are practically invisible."

Jim Gordon has assured GCN that he will hold a press conference to discuss the investigation at "an appropriate time in the future."

July 3, 2008


GPD officials have uncovered evidence tying the "mainstream" leadership of Citizens for Batman with an underground group calling itself the Gotham Defense League.

CFB came under attack by city officials after a string of vigilante activities by its members. Facing investigation, CFB claimed it had purged the group of "hardcore elements."

Gotham Police long suspected CFB of being insincere about its purge. But now, they are more certain than ever that CFB is aiding and abetting a violent group of extremists within the group.

"CFB is the pretty face of a very ugly movement," said GPD spokeswoman Felicia Maria De La Inez. "Our investigation points to the existence of a reckless, angry group of vigilantes that are taking the law into their own hands."

According to one GPD official, the Gotham Defense League is "a bunch of radical mavericks who think they know better than the police. They are would-be thugs who are going to get themselves and innocent people killed. These people are terrorists in my opinion.""

Citizens for Batman founder Brian Douglass assures GCN that "Citizens for Batman does not condone vigilante activity by its members.

"I formed this group so that everyday Gotham citizens had a way to publically express their thanks to the one man who really is standing up for them: Batman."

Douglass, however, admitted that "there was a group of members who wanted to actually participate in vigilante activities, but they have all been successfully purged. In fact, I haven't heard from most of them since, and I have no idea what they are up to." Douglass denied any knowledge of the Gotham Defense League.

GPD sources believe there may be online forums or gathering places where the hardcore elements of the Gotham Defense League meet, but they have not been able to crack their security measures.

July 10, 2008


Every year, Gotham Girl Guides come to our doors.

Cute as a button, they convince many of us to break our diets and pay out for peanut butter cookies, vanilla wafers, and other goodies.

But according to the GPD, those cookies you bought to help out charity could make you part of a massive criminal conspiracy.

The Gotham Girl Guides are under investigation by the Major Crimes Unit for involvement in a money-laundering scheme.

Non-profit organizations have long been used to funnel money into and out of illegal operations. But few would have ever thought that the much-loved Gotham Girl Guides would ever be implicated in such a plot.

And if the Gotham Girl Guides are unmasked as an arm of the mob, GPD can thank Vanessa DeFoliano. Vanessa's story of selling over $200,000 of GGG cookies made all the papers. But it also sparked suspicion among MCU officers.

"How could one girl sell so many cookies?" said one MCU officer. "We started to think, and then opened an investigation."

GGG rejects the charges.

"These rumors are absurd," Gotham Girl Guide group leader Sarah Alexis Schwimmer told GCN. "The Gotham Girl Guides is in no way connected to the Gotham mob or to the criminal enterprise of money laundering of any kind."

Sources told the GCN that Major Crimes suspects that high-ranking Gotham Girl Guide officials were approached by mob figures that paid them to launder money through the annual cookie sale.

"It would be easy to do this. They sell so many boxes of cookies a year that no one would notice radically increased sales if they didn't report it publically and besides, who would ever suspect them," the source told GCN.

Former Gotham Girl Guide member and one-time group leader Francis Alexander-Higgs agreed to sit down with GCN to discuss the current state of the organization.

"These girls are under tremendous pressure to perform, especially come cookie sale time," Alexander-Higgs said. "I wouldn't be surprised if an unscrupulous parent pushed a child to inflate cookie numbers if he or she was offered some kind of kickback by the mob to launder money through their child's efforts."

The future of the Guides may hinge on this investigation.

Should the group be found guilty of money laundering, they could be stripped of their non-profit status and forced to close down operations, which would end a decades-long Gotham tradition.

But Shwimmer said GGG will be proven innocent. "Scandal and closure is not going to happen under my watch," said Schwimmer. "I cannot stress this enough - that will not be the way the cookie crumbles."


Gotham Police Department officer Glenn Barhyte died early this morning at Gotham General Hospital, a GPD spokesman announced. Barhyte was wounded by three gunshots at an abandoned parking structure near the Docks late last night. "Glenn Barhyte was an exemplary officer that I began to rely on as soon as he transferred to Major Crimes," said MCU chief Jim Gordon. "We will all miss his warmth, his integrity, and his love of police work." It is unclear what Officer Barhyte was doing at the scene. Several sources told GCN that Barhyte had been leading an investigation into the drug trade which pinpointed a drug deal to have taken place at the scene last night. However, the investigation had been put on hold due to budget cuts. Some speculated that Barhyte may have been acting on his own to try to gain evidence for the stalled investigation. "Sometimes cops fall in love with cases, and they can't stop themselves," said one.

Others say that it is too soon to say why Officer Barhyte was there. Inside sources at GPDMCU told GCN that Barhyte may have been kidnapped and killed by the targets of his investigation after infiltrating GPD. "It's no secret that there are some mob plants and associates throughout GPD," said one high official in the Internal Affairs Department. "It's not impossible that the probe had been compromised and Barhyte killed to make a very public point."

Friends at GPD Major Crimes Unit, where Barhyte had transferred after years at Internal Affairs, were still in grief this morning. Brian Douglass, a file clerk at GPD, teared up as he recounted his feelings regarding Barhyte's death. "Glenn was like a brother to me. I can't help but feel that I could have stopped his death, somehow. I just – I just don't know how this could have happened," Douglass said.

Officer Kevin Slatteronsky, a colleague of Barhyte's at GPD Internal Affairs Department, told GCN that Barhyte told him he was trying to "stop a tragedy", not start one. "If you ever were in a firefight, you'd want Glenn next to you. He was loyal to a fault. Maybe this time, his loyalty won out over his own safety."

Barhyte leaves a wife, Cecilia, 33, who is expecting their first child.

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